The Indian literary scene is bursting at the seams with new authors, new plots (almost, and sometimes contrived), new ambitions and new hopes (for some of us at least). There is this surge of authors – this tide of “I-can-also-write” men and women. And amidst all of this, as a reader, I am often perplexed and overwhelmed. I don’t know what to read some times. It is not about choice. It is about the quality of writing. It is about the writing that is intellectually laced and about the kind of writing that aims to reach out to everyone. In all of this, there is the kind of book that is mid-way – somewhere there but not appeasing to the masses (or not aiming to at least) and yet it does. “Play with Me” by Ananth is one such book.
I thought “Play with Me” would be the kind of book which would not interest me. I thought I had nothing to do with the character’s lifestyles and choices. Sometimes, you feel the book is not for you and then when you read it, it changes your perception.
“Play with Me” is the sort of book that perhaps will not resonate deep, but you will see traces of your life in it. It is about life today in the metropolis – fast, rushing at neck-breaking speed, the pseudo-decadence that it reeks of and in all of this, souls trying to find something substantial to hold on to – love perhaps.
Sid is successful and charming. He has everything a man could ever want. It is about sex, loud music and living the good life. Enter: Cara (she had to at some point and she does, right in the first chapter) and Sid is head over heels in lust with her. This is what I love again about this book. It makes no bones about sex and affairs of the body. It is there, as it is lived out on a daily or a weekend basis in people’s lives. So Sid meets Cara and she takes him places he never imagined of. But of course, there has to be a twist in the tale and it comes when Sid finds himself falling for another woman and this time, in love.
This in short is the plot of the book. The writing is simple and bursts with energy. Ananth knows how to depict the modern gadget-ridden world with great aplomb. Sometimes, I found myself rushing through the book and at others I was mulling over what I had read. Ananth’s language is racy. The book is supposed to be that belonging to erotica, however in my opinion it transcends that and enters literary fiction very briefly, going back to being a meditation on love and life. If a writer can manage to pull that off, then you know for sure that the book is more than just a page-turner. “Play with Me” is a book that is a whirlwind. It seeps you in and doesn’t let go. Go read it. It will grip you from the first chapter on.